7th year of growth for yachting in the United Kingdom
British Marine, the British Union of Boating Professionals and Industrialists in the UK, has published its annual figures for 2018. The sector studied, which combines yachting, superyacht and small professional vessels, posted growth of 1.7%. With 33,000 direct employees in the United Kingdom, the marine industry has contributed more than £1.1 billion to the country's value added.
Brexit strengthens boat exports
Exports of boats and boating related products exceeded £1 billion for the first time since 2013, up 16% year-on-year. While the overall growth of the yachting market partly explains this evolution, British Marine also attributes it to a momentarily favourable effect of Brexit. This has led to a fall in the price of the pound, making the British marine industries more competitive in export markets.
The Euro zone and the European Union remain the main foreign market, accounting for 50% of exports. The United States is taking a growing share, reaching 25%, up 30%.
The domestic market remains stagnant, saved by the tendency of British people to spend their holidays in the United Kingdom due to the decline in the pound.
Fragile growth in the face of Brexit
While the figures are positive, British Marine does not hide its concern about the arrival of Brexit and its practical implementation. Lesley Robinson, its CEO, says, "The future health of our industry is not guaranteed. ... After all, leisure activities are always the first thing consumers give up during difficult times." It also highlights industrial issues. "Leaving the EU could have many consequences for the UK marine sector, clogging the supply chain, increasing critical skills shortages and impacting liquidity due to uncertainties over VAT payments. The sector is robust, but a bad Brexit is a risk to our success."